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October deadlines near for green card lottery

I want to alert readers to two time-sensitive opportunities that may be of tremendous importance for some individuals. In both cases, the opportunities aren't available for everyone, but I want to mak...

Daniel Joyce
Daniel Joyce

I want to alert readers to two time-sensitive opportunities that may be of tremendous importance for some individuals. In both cases, the opportunities aren’t available for everyone, but I want to make sure all eligible individuals have a chance to act before the deadlines.

The first is the U.S. Government’s annual green card “diversity” lottery – 55,000 green cards are issued to winners picked at random. The idea behind the lottery is to expand cultural diversity in the U.S. by offering green cards to individuals from countries, not normally highly represented in green card processing through other channels.

Some new Canadians eligible

There is no word whether this practice will continue following the events of Sept. 11, but for the last 10 years Canadian-born citizens have not been eligible. However, because of the large number of landed immigrants in Canada, and the number of Canadian citizens who may have been born in other countries, there are thousands of Canadian residents who are eligible. The country of birth, not citizenship, is the most important factor.

To apply, a person must be a native of an eligible country, and must submit an application during October. The rules are quite simple, but they must be followed exactly. There is no pre-printed application form and no filing fee. The application essentially consists of the person’s name, address, date and place of birth, signature and photograph. If married, the person must provide the same information and a photo for the spouse and each unmarried child under the age of 21.

The applicant must have the equivalent of a high school education or have at least two years of experience in a skilled occupation.

If both spouses are eligible, married couples can double their chance of winning by having each spouse file an application.

Multiple entries by any one applicant will result in disqualification, as will applications received before Oct. 1, or after Oct. 31.

All properly filed applications have an equal chance of winning with the lucky notified in mid-2002.

For a complete listing of lottery rules and eligible countries, refer to the “Diversity Lottery ’03” links in the INS Web site at www.ins.usdoj. gov or the U.S. Department of State site at

Vehicle seizures

The second opportunity relates to persons subjected to vehicle seizures in the INS Western Region between 1989 and 1999. The Western Region includes the INS District Offices in Anchorage, Alaska; Seattle, Wash., Portland, Ore., San Francisco and San Diego, Calif. and Phoenix, Ariz.

As I noted last year, the INS settled a class action suit initiated in that region by an aggrieved party by the name of Gete.

The court found the INS did not follow fair procedures in pursuing and deciding vehicle seizure cases against fleets and O/Os.

The INS is allowing a reconsideration of all vehicle seizure matters that were handled by Western Region Offices during the 10-year time frame mentioned above.

To begin the reconsideration process, interested parties must send a letter to the INS before Oct. 13, identifying the prior case and requesting reconsideration.

The petitioner will receive a copy of any adverse evidence in the INS file, together with instructions on how to proceed with the reconsideration process.

If the INS then determines a lesser penalty was appropriate, the applicant can receive a refund.

Instructions for this procedure can be found at the INS web site listed above at a link to the Gete settlement. n

– Daniel Joyce can be reached at Hirsh and Joyce, Attorneys at Law, at 716-564-2727.

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